The Cost of Divorce in New Jersey

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The Cost of Divorce in New Jersey

While there are costs involved with filing for a divorce, there are ways to help manage those costs and still receive a strong outcome in your favor. Our skilled New Jersey divorce lawyers work aggressively on our clients’ behalf to assert all your legal rights. When necessary, we are ready to try your case before a Passaic County or Morris County family law judge.

Many cases though can be resolved through negotiation, mediation, and the collaborative divorce process. These trial alternative processes help protect all your interests while saving costs. Generally, alternative resolutions are less expensive than full-scale trials.

The divorce cost in your case primarily involves court filing fees and the fees you pay your legal counsel. If you choose an alternate resolution process, then there are fees to pay for the mediator or for the professionals involved in a collaborative divorce. The professionals may include financial experts and psychological professionals who help analyze the emotional toll divorce takes on spouses and children.

The types of issues involved are a major factor in the cost of divorce

The costs vary depending on what issues need to be resolved and whether these issues are contested. The main factor that determines the cost is your lawyer’s hourly rate and how many hours are necessary to resolve or litigate the open issues. Some lawyers may agree to a cap to help ensure the fees don’t get out of hand. 

The issues that are involved in divorce cases involve the following:

  • Equitable division of property. The more assets you and your spouse have, the more time is usually needed to resolve them. Many spouses have a marital home and bank accounts. Some spouses may be entitled to retirement benefits when they retire. Evaluations have to be made about the right of a spouse to her/his spouse’s retirement benefits. One or both spouses may have a business that must be valued. Decisions need to be made about which spouse keeps which marital assets, whether some assets can be traded for other assets, and whether buyouts are required. These complex issues can increase the divorce cost, but are crucial to reaching a fair divorce.
  • Custody. Decisions need to be made about the legal and physical custody of your children. Parents need to prepare parenting plans that determine where the child will be every day of the year including holidays. These plans should make clear how the child will be transferred and how disputes will be resolved.
  • Alimony. New Jersey provides for different types of alimony. A spouse may be entitled to temporary alimony while the divorce is pending – which can be used for legal fees. Open durational alimony is available for spouses who have been married 20 years or more. Limited durational alimony is short-term alimony that may be awarded – usually for no more time than the length of the marriage. Rehabilitative alimony is awarded to help a spouse obtain an education or training so they can work and earn a living.
  • Child support. Normally the parent with less custodial time than the other parent will be ordered to pay child support on a regular basis for the child’s minority and possibly for college.

Our skilled divorce lawyers understand how these issues are usually resolved and when you may need to try the issues before a family law judge to obtain the best results.

Are there ways to reduce the cost to file for divorce?

The best way to reduce the average cost of divorce is to resolve the issues without litigation. Litigation requires extensive discovery, thorough preparation, and time before the judge. The hours can quickly add up to a large fee.

In some divorces, we can negotiate a settlement directly with your spouse’s lawyer to keep your divorce cost lower. The ability to negotiate a settlement depends on various factors such as what assets the spouses have, how friendly the spouses are, whether there are children, and whether there are any prenuptial or postnuptial agreements.

Mediation is a process where a neutral professional (the mediator) works to reach a settlement through back-and-forth discussions with each side. A collaborative divorce is a more formal negotiation that involves professionals such as appraisers and psychologists. Generally, even if several sessions are required, the cost of mediation or collaboration is much less than the divorce cost.

A few key factors to consider

You only get one chance to resolve your divorce issues. While spending money on divorce lawyer fees may seem like a lot, the divorce cost is often worth the expense. In many cases, we obtain property division results that increase the value of your assets (as compared to not using a lawyer) by much more than the legal fees. The difference between a just alimony award and the first offer from your spouse is usually a lot of money. You want to ensure your children’s future is protected by obtaining a favorable custody order and the proper amount of child support.

We provide a contract that explains our hourly rate and how often we bill our clients. We understand that for many clients, they need to put food on the table while the divorce is proceeding. We regularly work with spouses so that they can pay us when they have the money in hand through the divorce settlement or award – if making regular payments is impossible. In addition, we can explain what typical divorce costs and the average costs of divorce.

At DeTorres & DeGeorge Family Law, our lawyers have 30 years of experience. This experience helps us obtain strong results in a reasonable amount of time. Please call us at 908-691-2104 or complete our contact form to schedule an appointment. We have offices in Clinton and Florham Park.

Carolyn B. Hand
Carolyn Hand is a passionate and experienced litigator specializing in family law. In 2020, she was named partner at DeTorres & DeGeorge Family Law. Carolyn represents clients in family court in all matters pertaining to divorce, custody...
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